Friday, August 31, 2012

Prayer Drill!

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Beside the Ahava River, I asked the people to go without eating and to pray. We humbled ourselves and asked God to bring us and our children safely to Jerusalem with all of our possessions.  I was ashamed to ask the king to send soldiers and cavalry to protect us against enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king that our God takes care of everyone who truly worships him, but that he gets very angry and punishes anyone who refuses to obey.

So we went without food and asked God himself to protect us, and he answered our prayers.

Ezra 8:21-23

When I was a child in elementary school I always liked the "fire drills." A loud alarm would go off, without warning, and we would all, quietly march out of the building and gather on the playground. Once there the teacher would count us all to confirm that no one had been left behind. There never was a real fire in our school, but the fire drills helped us be ready for one if it ever happened. And you can be sure that tragedies do happen in this life.

How do you prepare for a fire, the death of a loved one, someone breaking in your house to do you harm, or any one of many kinds of evil that can come your way? If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ and you must fight your battles all alone I really don't know what to tell you. Without Jesus the smallest storm in life can sink your boat.

But if you are a follower of Jesus, when the alarm goes off and you don't know if it is a "fire drill" or a real emergency, drop to your knees and call out to God. If you are practiced in prayer and can quickly come before His throne, God and His powerful arm of help will arrive long before the emergency squad can find your house.

Here is a good idea. Have a "Prayer Drill" every day. Call on the Name of the Lord as if you were in the middle of a life threatening emergency and then listen for His answer. Let your time in prayer prepare your heart and mind for the days of difficulty lie ahead for so many people on this earth.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Watching God Work!

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We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.

God made great and marvelous promises, so his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.

Do your best to improve your faith by adding goodness, understanding,  self-control, patience, devotion to God,  concern for others, and love.  If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful.

2 Peter 1:3-8

When you are with a growing child everyday it is hard to see the difference from day to day. But when you don't see that child for a year, or a month or sometimes even a week you can easily see the growth!

When you grow as a follower of Jesus Christ your life will become useful and meaningful. You will be useful to Jesus as He works in and through you to accomplish His will everyday. And your life will become meaningful because it will declare to everyone around you that Jesus still works miracles today! Men will see that one who was lost is now found and a man who was once blind can now see!

When my father was a boy there was no such thing as a driver's license in the United States. He told me that a young man could drive a car when his legs were long enough to reach the peddles. It was really quite simple. If you had grown physically enough to push on the throttle and step on the brake then you were old enough to drive a car.

It is the same with a Christian. God will not ask you to do something for Him when your legs are too short to "reach the peddles." There is one great exception to this "rule." God will ask you to accomplish a task that is too hard for you to do and then He will do it for you as you watch Him in awe!

So my life as a Christian changes as I grow. I begin as a young man working for God and end up as an old man watching God work!

"Lord, let me watch You work today. Show me how Your power is moving in the world and in my life and the lives of those around me. And I will praise You for everything! Amen."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Right Tool

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The angel who explained the visions woke me from what seemed like sleep.

Then he asked, “What do you see?”
“A solid gold lampstand with an oil container above it,” I answered. “On the stand are seven lamps, each with seven flames. One olive tree is on the right side and another on the left of the oil container.

But, sir, what do these mean?”

Then he asked, “Don't you know?”
“No sir,” I replied.

So the angel explained that it was the following message of the [Lord] to Zerubbabel: I am the [Lord] All-Powerful. So don't depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit.

Zechariah 4:1-6

When you use the right tool a difficult, frustrating and seemingly impossible job can seem very simple.

One of my sons is a mechanic. He has lots of tools. Watching him work is really quite interesting and enjoyable as I see him use a tool specifically designed for the job he is trying to accomplish. With the right tool the impossible becomes quite easy.

Navigating through this life without the help of the Spirit of God is like trying to change the oil in a car without a wrench. You can try to turn the oil drain plug with your fingers, non stop for a week and it will not move. But with the proper wrench a good counter-clock-wise pull and it comes out!

Are you trying to live and maintain your life without the help of the Spirit of God? You may be busy in the effort and even look like someone who has been working hard at the task, but without God nothing of any value will be done.

"Lord, show me today how I am trying to depend on my own strength and power instead of Your Spirit. Then Lord, help me today to stand back and watch You work. Amen."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Father of Obedience!

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Ezekiel, son of man, the people with you in Babylonia talk about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say, “Let's ask Ezekiel what the [Lord] has said today.”  So they all come and listen to you, but they refuse to do what you tell them. They claim to be faithful, but they are forever trying to cheat others out of their money.

They treat you as though you were merely singing love songs or playing music. They listen, but don't do anything you say.

Soon they will be punished, just as you warned, and they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 33:30-33

There is a deep valley between recognizing the Word of God and obeying it! You say you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Bible is God's Word, but are you obedient to His desire for you?

When you read the Bible do you try to find the passages that give you peace about the way you live now, or do you look for scripture that shows you a better way?

The Bible does not contradict itself, so the truth you find today will never change, but the ocean of God's truth is so vast there are always greater depths.

Here is where so many Christians stumble in their walk with Jesus. They come to believe that understanding God's Word is more important than obeying it.

We are saved by faith, not understanding. Faith is the father of obedience, but understanding's offspring can include arrogance and pride.

Study the scriptures so you can obey them even if you don't yet understand. That kind of obedience reveals your faith in Jesus and brings glory to God.

"Lord, show me one way I can obey You today that is beyond my understanding. Amen."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wash Away the World

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The angel showed me a river that was crystal clear, and its waters gave life. The river came from the throne where God and the Lamb were seated.

Then it flowed down the middle of the city's main street. On each side of the river are trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations.

God's curse will no longer be on the people of that city. He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God and will see him face to face. God's name will be written on the foreheads of the people.

Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun. The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever.

Revelation 22:1-5

I saw a river once flowing down the middle of the main street of a city in Southeast Asia. It was polluted beyond anyone's imagination. I suppose it would have been better called an open sewer and not a river.

There was a man sitting on the side of that river reaching down into it's brown water with his toothbrush while brushing his teeth! It has been almost 40 years since I saw him trying to clean his teeth with that filthy water but the image is still vivid in my mind.

The counterproductive futility of brushing your teeth in a sewer is still hard for me to grasp and yet I see that happening everyday. Men and women try to clean themselves up by bathing in the sewer. It is a disgusting image, and rarely do we see it happen in the physical world, but spiritually it happens all the time. When we realize that we have sinned the first reaction is to deny that it happened. Then if we do recognize our sin we try to cover it up so that no one will know about it.

But there is only one way to be clean from the sin in your life and that is to be washed in the Blood of Jesus. Any other way of trying to deal with your sin will only leave you stained and corrupted by the world that promises freedom but delivers slavery.

"Lord Jesus, examine me today and see if there is any place that needs to be washed in Your Blood. Let Your cleansing power flow over me and wash away the corruption of this world. Amen."

Friday, August 24, 2012

What is God Like?

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When I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal, I looked and saw a great earthquake. The sun turned as dark as sackcloth, and the moon became red as blood. The stars in the sky fell to earth, just like figs shaken loose by a windstorm.

Then the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all mountains and islands were moved from their places.

The kings of the earth, its famous people, and its military leaders hid in caves or behind rocks on the mountains. They hid there together with the rich and the powerful and with all the slaves and free people. Then they shouted to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us! Hide us from the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb.  That terrible day has come! God and the Lamb will show their anger, and who can face it?”

Revelation 6:12-17

So many people believe that God never gets angry. Their perception of the Almighty is that He is just the "Man Upstairs" or the old grandfather who let's us get away with everything! They look at all the "God is love" passages and tell themselves that the anger of God was for another time and another place.

The Bible says that God created man in His image, not the other way around. But we try to change who God is and make Him into a God who makes it really easy on His children. We want a God who blesses, but makes no personal demands on our lives.

Another way we remake God in our minds is to think that a minimal commitment to Jesus is all He requires or even desires. We do the "essential to Salvation" things and then sit down to wait for Heaven. We pretend that our relationship with Jesus is an intimate one when we barely even know Him!

"Lord, give me a sober and serious respect for the side of You that will cause shaking and fear in those who don't know and love You. And Lord, help me to step deeper into Your love today and know You in a way that goes beyond being able to describe that relationship to others. May You be praised and glorified forever. Amen."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Overwhelmed by His Glory!

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God stays one with everyone who openly says Jesus is the Son of God. This is how we stay one with God and are sure God loves us.

God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us.  If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment.

A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows we have not really learned to love.

We love because God loved us first.  But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see?  The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!”

1 John 4:15-21

There is a rather strange blessing for someone who is blind. A blind man learns to love people he cannot see. A blind man does not base much if any of his love on physical beauty. It is inward beauty that blossoms in his mind and spreads an attractive fragrance.

All human beings are blind when it comes to God. We cannot see Him. He has hidden Himself from our view so effectively that even confronted with the Glory of Creation itself some men decide that God is not there at all!

Truthfully, the ability to see with your physical eyes is the most deceptive sense of all. "Love at first sight" rarely ends well. Love that comes from discovering the inward beauty of a person is the kind that lasts and lasts. Love based on physical beauty is really not love at all.

If we were able to see God as human beings we would be totally taken with His glory and probably not able to go any farther. It would be immobilizing and awesome. But when you are blind to what God really looks like you can relate to Him without being overwhelmed by His Glory!

When we wait for an earthly gift or blessing our imagination is usually greater than the gift we finally receive. But our imagination of God and His Glory can't even come close to the reality of God Almighty. When we arrive in Heaven and see Jesus face to face in His Glory we will be like blind men receiving their sight! And we will never be the same again.

"Lord, thank You for changing me from a frail human being into one that will be able to stand before Your throne and see Your face! I confess to You and agree with You that I cannot look on Your face while living in this human body. But then it will be different and I will be able to see You, the Great I Am! Amen!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Walk on Me!

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You are strong,
and your mighty power
put the mountains in place.

You silence the roaring waves
and the noisy shouts
of the nations.

People far away marvel
at your fearsome deeds,
and all who live under the sun
celebrate and sing
because of you.

You take care of the earth
and send rain to help the soil
grow all kinds of crops.
Your rivers never run dry,
and you prepare the earth
to produce abundant grain.

You water all its fields
and level the lumpy ground.
You send showers of rain
to soften the soil
and help the plants sprout.

Wherever your footsteps
touch the earth,
a rich harvest is gathered.

Desert pastures blossom,
and mountains celebrate.

Meadows are filled
with sheep and goats;
valleys overflow with grain
and echo with joyful songs.

Psalm 65:6-13

When you walk with the Lord, His footsteps touch your fields and a rich harvest is gathered. That's the reason that those who spend time with Jesus are blessed in every way.

How would your garden grow if the feet of Jesus touched the soil that grows your tomatoes? The miracles of Jesus were not hard for Him to do. It was hard for Him not to overwhelm everyone, everywhere He went with the blessings of Heaven. When the unimaginable greatness of God Almighty comes to your table and blesses your food every meal should be one you will never forget.

We think it is a bad thing when we let someone "walk all over you." That's when another person takes advantage of you and uses you for their own purposes. But with Jesus it is a good thing not a bad thing.

"Jesus, please walk all over me. Walk on and in my mind. Walk on my heart. Walk in my home and walk at my work. Jesus, please take advantage of me and use me for your own purposes. Let me be Your tool and be useful to accomplish what You want done today! Lord, when Your footsteps touch my life a rich harvest will be gathered to Your Glory. Amen."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wounded by the Word

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Jesus asked his disciples, “When I sent you out without a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals, did you need anything?”
“No!” they answered.

Jesus told them, “But now, if you have a moneybag, take it with you. Also take a traveling bag, and if you don't have a sword, sell some of your clothes and buy one.

Do this because the Scriptures say, ‘He was considered a criminal.’ This was written about me, and it will soon come true.”

The disciples said, “Lord, here are two swords!”
“Enough of that!” Jesus replied.

Luke 22:35-38

This is a difficult passage to understand. If you translate it into a modern cultural setting Jesus told his disciples to sell some of their clothes and buy a gun. In fact, they took two weapons with them to the garden of Gethsemane that night. One of those swords cut off the ear of the high priest's servant.

The disciples in Gethsemane were an "armed gang" and Peter even used the sword that he was carrying. Jesus explained His reason for telling them to carry a sword. He said the scriptures say he was considered a criminal. So an armed group of men would help establish that in the minds of the soldiers who came to arrest Him. The Roman soldiers did not see a peaceful group of praying men that night when they came to arrest Jesus.

It is not surprising that Peter was afraid after they left the garden. He had tried to kill the servant of the high priest. Jesus healed the severed ear which may have kept them from arresting Peter as well, but it did not stop them from seeing the disciples as dangerous men!

It is quite clear today that the battles we fight against Satan are not fought with swords and guns, but rather with the Word of God and the power of His Spirit. But the followers of Satan, like the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus see us as armed and dangerous. They will consider us to be criminals just like they did Jesus and His twelve disciples.

So how do we strike back when we are attacked by those who are walking in darkness? The secret weapon which we are authorized and encouraged to use is the same one used by Jesus two thousand years ago. Jesus struck back at those who would kill Him by allowing Himself to be crucified as a complete sacrifice for the sins of even the one who drove the nails in His hands. The weapon we use is LOVE!

"Lord, I cannot understand Your love for me, but I also cannot live without it! Lord, help me to always carry the Sword of the Spirit as I confront Satan, and may You heal the cuts of those who are wounded by Your Word! Amen."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

God’s Jigsaw Puzzle

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The [Lord] said:
Ezekiel, son of man, you've heard people in Israel use the saying, “Time passes, and prophets are proved wrong.”  Now tell the people that I, the [Lord], am going to prove that saying wrong. No one will ever be able to use it again in Israel, because very soon everything I have said will come true!  The people will hear no more useless warnings and false messages.

I will give them my message, and what I say will certainly happen. Warn those rebels that the time has come for them to be punished. I, the [Lord], make this promise.
Ezekiel, the people of Israel are also saying that your visions and messages are only about things in the future.  So tell them that my words will soon come true, just as I have warned. I, the [Lord], have spoken.

Ezekiel 12:21-28

When God makes a promise it is as good as done. There is no such thing as a Word from God that never happens. But there are lots of words of men who claim to speak for God that never come true.

Claiming to speak for God is a serious and very sobering thing to do. A man who embarks on a path of speaking for God can quickly evolve into a "false prophet!" All he must do is to fill in the gaps between what God says and what he would like for God to have said.

That is why you so desperately need to know the Scriptures. God will not contradict Himself. So when you hear a man present a warning "from God" it must not and will not disagree with the Bible if it is indeed from on High.

When you pay attention to useless warnings and false messages that are supposed to be from God the impact on your spiritual life is numbing. The Enemy's purpose is to make you insensitive to the useful warnings and real messages from God!

So if you do not want to be fooled by the loud chorus of confusing and even wicked warnings and messages that flood the world around you, let everything you see and hear be filtered through the Word of God. Know the Scriptures so well that every other word you hear will either be confirmed or rejected as it enters your mind.

God's Word is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It all fits together perfectly, and there is no room at all for even one extra piece. But if it fits in God's puzzle let the warning be heard and heeded! Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rope to Heaven!

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Your whole country is in confusion! Murder and violence are everywhere in Israel, so I will tell the most wicked nations to come and take over your homes. They will put an end to the pride you have in your strong army, and they will make your places of worship unfit to use.  You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace—but there will be no peace.  One tragedy will follow another, and you'll hear only bad news. People will beg prophets to give them a message from me. Priests will stop teaching my Law, and wise leaders won't be able to give advice.

Even your king and his officials will lose hope and cry in despair. Your hands will tremble with fear. I will punish you for your sins and treat you the same way you have treated others. Then you will know that I am the [Lord].

Ezekiel 7:23-27

When God brings His judgment on a nation it can be terrible. "One tragedy will follow another and you'll hear only bad news."

If revival doesn't come to the United States of America something else will sweep over this "land of the free and home of the brave." And that "something else" will be awful!

For those who have watched the wonder of the American dream and desired to participate be aware that the greatness that was the United States came only from her recognition of and declared trust in God! Without God we cannot and will not stand. Like others before us we have foolishly let go of the only rope to Heaven!

If you want to pray for the United States, pray that we will turn back to God. If you are a citizen of this country let the revival begin in your heart. Even the greatest wildfires started with one spark, match or lightning bolt.

"Lord, I know that because of Jesus, those that turn to Him do not get what they deserve, but rather what Jesus deserves. I lay my heart at Your feet and trust in the Blood of Jesus to cover all my sin. May the flame of love for You burn brightly once again in my heart and all over this world. Amen!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don’t Scratch Your Ears!

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The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear.  They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

It is sad but true that many people spend their lives seeking to be taught things they already believe. It is simply the process of confirming that your life is on the right track, whether or not it really is. Seeking false teachers who deliver messages for "itching ears" is the way all prejudices are sustained.

But when you are confronted with TRUTH your prejudices are attacked by the reality of God. The truth of God attacks the lies that we hear from others or even tell ourselves. In fact, the lies I tell myself are the most difficult. I usually lie to myself about my real motives for an action and of course about the seriousness of my own sin.

When you read the Bible are you looking to confirm things you already believe, and that is not a bad thing, or are you looking to discover the Truth of God that has not yet entered your mind?

Please understand that I am not saying that it is wrong to confirm the truth you already know. But, swimming in the ocean of yet to be discovered reality is an adventure that leads you right to the Throne of God!

"Lord, give me the strength to ignore my itching ears and those who would tell me lies and declare that they are truth. And Lord, give me the courage to jump into the ocean of Your Truth and drown in the knowledge of You. Amen."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nuggets of Truth!

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My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace.  Don't forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved. This is also what our dear friend Paul said when he wrote you with the wisdom God had given him.

Paul talks about these same things in all his letters, but part of what he says is hard to understand. Some ignorant and unsteady people even destroy themselves by twisting what he said. They do the same thing with other Scriptures too.

My dear friends, you have been warned ahead of time! So don't let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.  Let the gift of undeserved grace and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:14-18

Does the Bible really say what I am told it says? Even back when Peter wrote this letter there were people who took scripture and twisted it to make it say something other than what God intended.

This is not a minor problem since Peter calls it "errors of evil people" who are trying to lead you down the wrong path.

So how do you avoid this "wrong path" and the problem of losing your balance because of it?

Here are a couple of suggestions.

Don't accept everything a teacher says just because you like him or her and because they are living an apparently impeccable life. Likable, moral people can be confused about the Word of God and in all sincerity proclaim that confusion to others.

Secondly, don't reject what a teacher says because you don't like him or her and you can clearly see their sins. Search the Scriptures to see if what they say is true and then accept it regardless of the personal facts of the teacher.

In other words put your faith in God and His Word and not what anyone says about His Word! Yes that means you will have to read and study the Bible for yourself. It does take longer to mine for gold that to go to a coin shop and buy some. But the experience will be rich and eternal.

God has things in His Word that He wants to show you today. Spend some extra time today looking for the nuggets of truth!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blessings of God!

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You disgraceful nation,
gather around,

before it's too late.
The [Lord] has set a time
when his fierce anger
will strike like a storm
and sweep you away.

If you humbly obey the [Lord],
then come and worship him.
If you do right and are humble,
perhaps you will be safe
on that day when the [Lord]
turns loose his anger.

Zephaniah 2:1-3

A man is not saved or lost because of his citizenship here on this earth. Your country and all of it's citizens are not going to heaven or hell as a group. But a nation is blessed or judged because of the actions of it's leaders and people. You can live in the most corrupt nation on earth and still live a life that is pleasing to God and you can live in the most Godly nation on earth and live a life that stands clearly in opposition to Him.

In my opinion, the judgment of God on a nation is most often reserved for Godly nations who turn from Him. When a nation trusts in God and proclaims that allegiance and then turns away, catastrophes happen on many fronts. In fact, the simple withdrawal of God's blessings from a country is difficult enough.

A poor farmer once told me of the rains that very selectively watered his fields after he accepted Jesus. His crop yield increased substantially after he turned his heart to the Lord.

God can bless a nation as well as a person. And God can remove those blessings when we turn from Him. Nations turn away from God one person at a time, and nations turn back to God the same way. There is no such thing as a Godless nation in which all the citizens and leaders are Godly.

Do your part today in turning your nation back to God by submitting your heart to Jesus. Let Jesus be Lord of your life and then call all your neighbors, family and friends to do the same. That's the way a godless nation becomes a God fearing land. Amen.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Are We There Yet?

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Christ did not have to offer himself many times. He wasn't like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal.

If he had offered himself every year, he would have suffered many times since the creation of the world. But instead, near the end of time he offered himself once and for all, so he could be a sacrifice that does away with sin.

We die only once, and then we are judged.  So Christ died only once to take away the sins of many people. But when he comes again, it will not be to take away sin. He will come to save everyone who is waiting for him.

Hebrews 9:25-28

My oldest son and his wife have six children. On the license plate of his car he put an abbreviated version of the question "Are we there yet?" That is a question they hear over and over when they travel the more than 600 miles to come home to see Grandpa and Granny.

As children of God on our journey to our heavenly home we ask God the same question. "God, are we almost there?" We see so many signs of the return of Jesus. We search the scriptures to see if there are more signs of His return and we find them. Hope for this world is growing dim and the possibility of repairing the broken system is fading fast.

Like children on a long car trip we grow anxious and restless as we see the End in sight. But now is the time to remain calm, buckled up and alert to what is going on around us. We must use every minute we have left on this earth to do the things that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do. Truthfully, no one on earth knows the day or the hour of the return of Jesus, but we do know that until He does we must be faithful and wait patiently.

"Lord, calm my soul as I see the world falling apart all around me. May I trust you more and rest in the peace that goes beyond understanding. And Lord may I be awake and alert as I wait for Your return. Amen."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stand Before the King!

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Each of the four living creatures had six wings, and their bodies were covered with eyes. Day and night they never stopped singing,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,
the all-powerful God,
who was and is
and is coming!”

The living creatures kept praising, honoring, and thanking the one who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever.

At the same time the 24 elders knelt down before the one sitting on the throne. And as they worshiped the one who lives forever, they placed their crowns in front of the throne and said,

“Our Lord and God,
you are worthy
to receive glory,
honor, and power.
You created all things,
and by your decision they are
and were created.”

Revelation 4:8-11

Sometimes a song will reach into your very soul and refuse to leave. You will find yourself singing the song, or at least humming the tune all day long. It can be very annoying to those around you, but there is the song, stuck in your mind and you can't get it out.

That's what has happened to the four living creatures in Heaven. Once they started singing Holy, Holy, Holy they never stopped! I believe that when we are ushered in to the presence of God we will be captured by the scene and will join in praising God with the others who are there. It will be the most amazing and fulfilling experience possible.

Even on this earth when you are in the presence of a powerful person, you study and stare wanting to see everything about this man of power. But when you stand in the presence of God you will be eternally captured by His radiance. You will actually see God and know exactly what He looks like. Faith will be transformed into sight. And then Eternity will begin!

Pondering that moment of entering into Glory causes me to consider this: If there is anything in my life that I must get rid of before going to Heaven, then I must put it away of now. Don't wait until the last minute to turn away from the things of this world.

There is a song that can fill your heart and mind now that will help. The first line of the song says "Soon oh, very soon we are going to see the King!" Let that thought run through your mind over and over again, until you can think of nothing else.

It's all a part of getting ready to stand before the King! Amen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Total Makeover!

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You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him.

Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.

Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ.

God lives fully in Christ.  And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority.  Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body.  And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death.

You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins.

God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross.

Colossians 2:6-14

Exercise machines, diets and face lifts promise that you will be transformed into a new and much healthier and better looking person if you will only dedicate yourself to their use. The lure of these temporary fixes is strong. Millions of people will do whatever it takes to keep looking young and stay physically strong but there is a much more important makeover, and this one is permanent.

When you call on the name of the Lord and give your heart to Jesus He changes you into an amazing creation. Christ has taken away your sin and gives you the Holy Spirit to live in and guide you every day. He takes away your selfish desires and raises you to life because you have faith in the power of God who raised Jesus from death.

Here is the problem. Most people believe they are almost perfect without Jesus. They come to Jesus and expect Him to help them correct one problem area, but they refuse to see that they are a complete mess and need a total makeover in their lives! That's why it is so hard for "good" people to give their hearts completely to Jesus. They see Jesus as a great makeup artist who will apply a few surface fixes and cover all their blemishes. But Jesus wants to raise you from the dead, not put makeup on your face! If you want to know how bad you are and how desperately you need Jesus listen to what your enemies say about you, not your friends.

Then let your despair drive you into the arms of Jesus! He is waiting and wanting to change you into a man or woman who looks just like Him! Let Jesus begin His total transformation of your life today!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Real Bullets!

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Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.  Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.

So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor.  Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Earthly things speak loudly to us about spiritual matters. We have light and darkness on this earth to help us learn about spiritual light and darkness. We have marriage to show us a type of the relationship of Christ and the Church. We have war on earth so that we will know more about Spiritual Warfare.

My youngest son was an avid paint ball enthusiast when he was in high school. Then after graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and deployed to a war zone. The games that people play with paint balls cannot be compared to struggles of real war with real bullets.

Today there are many Christians for whom Spiritual Warfare is simply a game to be played on Sunday. It is a great song sung, or a great sermon preached but has nothing to do with a costly encounter with Satan on the field of battle.

If as a Christian you have been playing with paint balls instead of the sword of the Spirit, don't be surprised if you are seriously wounded by Satan.

Spiritual war is waged with real bullets and it is without a doubt a life or death matter. Never forget that even if you have been a Christian for many years Satan wants to take you down today. Keep your shield up and your sword ready to swing.

"Lord help me to be ready today to do battle with the Enemy. And by the power of Your Word may he be defeated at every turn. Amen."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Big Talk!

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When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia was on his way to attack Egypt, the [Lord] sent me with a warning for every Egyptian town, but especially for Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes. He said to tell them:
Prepare to defend yourselves!
Everywhere in your nation,
people are dying in war.

I have struck down
your mighty god Apis
and chased him away.

Your soldiers stumble
over each other
and say, “Get up!
The enemy will kill us,
unless we can escape
to our own land.”

Give the king of Egypt
this new name,

Egypt, I am the true king,
the [Lord] All-Powerful,
and as surely as I live,
those enemies who attack
will tower over you
like Mount Tabor among the hills
or Mount Carmel by the sea.

Jeremiah 46:13-18

The king of Egypt must have been the forerunner of twenty first century politicians! God said the king of Egypt should be called "Talks-Big-Does-Nothing." How many of those speeches have you heard? Promises, promises, promises and nothing is done to fulfill any of them!

So how do I keep from becoming one of those who talks big, but does nothing? The answer to that is clearly in the Word of God. In fact, it not only is in the Word of God, it indeed is the Word of God. When you speak your words and boast of what you will do, you never really know if you will even be alive to do it. But when you speak God's Words and boast of what He will do you can rest assured that He has been and will be alive forever and will keep His Word!

So when you "Talk Big" be sure and use God's Words instead of your own. Then everything you say will not only be true, but it will come true.

The king of Egypt may be called "Talks-Big-Does-Nothing" but God can be called "Talks-Big-Does-Everything!" When God is your King, He will never fail to keep His promises!

Friday, August 3, 2012

One Bite at a Time!

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Johanan, Jezaniah, the other army officers, and everyone else in the group, came to me and said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. Judah used to have many people, but as you can see, only a few of us are left.

Ask the Lord to tell us where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do.”

“All right,” I answered, “I will pray to the Lord your God, and I will tell you everything he says.”

They answered, “The Lord himself will be our witness that we promise to do whatever he says, even if it isn't what we want to do. We will obey the Lord so that all will go well for us.”

Jeremiah 42:1-6

How many times in your life have you prayed these words: "Lord, where do you want me to go and what do you want me to do?" In this scripture Jeremiah prayed for the rest of the group and they promised that they would obey the Lord even if it was an answer they did not like!

When we hear testimonies of answered prayer it is almost always the answers that we like. Those are the ones that get us excited and we want to tell others about it. Who wants to stand up and tell everyone about the answers to prayer that go against our own understanding and will? But those answers to prayer are the paths we would never have discovered on our own because we don't like them.

Like little children who don't want to eat their spinach we sometimes gag and spit out God's will for our lives. I think, to God, I may look like the child who has his food smeared all over his face with much of it also on the floor. We often refuse to accept God's will because we don't understand it. But never forget that the will of an Infinite God may never be within the range of my understanding.

"Lord, help me to develop a taste for Your will in my life. I confess again that my flesh and my will fight against what You want for me. Be patient with me Lord and help me to embrace Your answers to my prayers one bite at a time. Amen!"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

March in God’s Parade!

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As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people.  Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right,  and they are so greedy they do all kinds of indecent things.

But this isn't what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him.  You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits.  Let the Spirit change your way of thinking  and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.

Ephesians 4:17-24

Can others tell that you are a Christian because of the way you live all week long or by the fact that you go to church on Sunday morning?

In the United States for many years the cultural norms supported those who were believers in Christ. There was only praise for those who lived honorably before God and obeyed the moral standards established in the Bible. Then you could not tell a believer from a non-believer in Christ by simply looking at the way they lived. Many people lived moral lives but were not Christians.

Now it is different. If you follow the standards of the culture around you, you must violate Christian principles and Biblical teachings. If you are in step with the world around you, you must be out of step with Jesus.

The problem today is that many people claim to be citizens of Heaven but are living like Hell! They actually are pretty easy to identify unless the person you are looking at is on the other side of a mirror! When you look at yourself in the light of God's standards it is easy to justify, excuse, and otherwise ignore the fact that you are living in the sin of following the world and it's ways of living instead of following Jesus!

So here is the problem. If the culture around you supports God's ways of living then you can be fooled by your good life into thinking that you are a follower of Jesus when you are simply a follower of the culture. When the culture contradicts the Bible at almost every turn it is easy to dismiss the Word of God because "everybody is doing" the thing that the Bible warns you not to do.

The solution is this: Live according to the Word of God, not by the culture whether the culture is good or bad. Let your understanding of everything in this life come from God not other men, even righteous men. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him be the drummer as you march to His beat! You will often be out of step with the world around you, but you will never be out of step with Jesus.

"Lord, let me hear the drumbeat of the Holy Spirit today. And Lord, give me the courage to ignore the world around me as I march in Your parade! Amen!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You Cannot Go to Hell!

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What offering should I bring
when I bow down to worship
the Lord God Most High?
Should I try to please him
by sacrificing
calves a year old?

Will thousands of sheep
or rivers of olive oil
make God satisfied with me?
Should I sacrifice to the Lord
my firstborn child as payment
for my terrible sins?

Micah 6:6-7

The prophet Micah had a very "prophetic" thought when he asked God if he should sacrifice his firstborn child as payment for his terrible sins. The answer to that question is of course "No." The sacrifice of Micah's first born child would have no impact on his sins, but the sacrifice of God's child, Jesus Christ would!

The President of the United States recently got in lots of political hot water when he said that if you have a successful business, you didn't build that, somebody else did! The cry from across the land was "Oh yes we did! We worked hard and we deserve the credit for our success." Humanly speaking the President was wrong and his critics were right.

But, God says if you are saved that "you didn't do that, somebody else did." Sacrificing thousands of sheep or rivers of olive oil would not secure the salvation of one sinner. Even sacrificing your first born will not impact the destination of your eternal existence.

When God sacrificed His Son the price was paid for your Eternal Success. Without Jesus you will not go to Heaven and with Jesus in your heart you cannot go to Hell.